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Scudder falls short in Nashville
Greg Scudder of Ceres sang his heart and soul out on stage at Thursday's Country Showdown national signing competition in Nashville, Tenn. But it was competitor Jaclyn North who took the coveted $100,000 grand prize.

Scudder, and North were among a field of five contestants which included Kendall Phillips, Reggie Shaw, and Carin Mari.

"I thought I did real well - as good as I could have," said Scudder. "I guess the judges opinion was that there was a better singer."

The hours-long competition was viewed by approximately 1,500 in the audience at the celebrated Ryman Auditorium of which 20 to 30 were family members and friends from the Ceres area. The 29th annual Colgate Country Showdown will be televised and is scheduled to air in syndication throughout February and March.

Scudder, a Ceres High School graduate, admits feeling disappointed at the outcome but is looking at the positives.

"Everybody goes into something like this expecting to win but I think I won by playing in the Ryman Auditorium," said Scudder. "It was what I expected and even better."

While in Nashville all last week, Scudder was able to make a number of contacts with music professionals - even meeting emcee LeAnn Rimes. His voice was heard by judges who are among major industry players, including Lisa Ramsey-Perkins of Sony, Rod Essig of Creative Artist Agency, John Ozier of Curb Records, B.J. Hill of Warner/Chappell and Brian Mansfield.

"Time will tell. I gave out quite a few CDs and met quite a few people. All I'm waiting for is the phone call."

Scudder said the experience left him "definitely more encouraged" than discouraged about pursuing his musical career.

During the competition, the name of Jay Simpson of Ceres was mentioned as last year's winner of the Colgate Country Showdown Songwriting Contest.